October 2, 2008
Telco workers picket Telecom AGM
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members picketed Telecom’s AGM in Wellington this morning to protest the company’s refusal to properly fund its contractor Transfield – a move that puts at risk the job security of 1400 workers nationwide.
Already, Transfield has had to announce 170 redundancies because of uncertainty created by its dispute with Telecom.
About thirty workers attended today’s picket, which is the start of nationwide action, and handed out flyers urging Telecom shareholders to take the issue to the company inside.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little spoke at the picket and is urging Telecom and Transfield to sort their deal out.
“Telecom is reliant on only two contractors to look after its network and if it forces one out the result will be instability for 1400 workers and their families, a loss of crucial skills overseas and a loss of certainty for the future of high-speed broadband in New Zealand.
“That’s a high price to pay just to knock a contractor down a few bucks but it is our members and anyone who is dependent on reliable broadband for their business that will be paying the price.
“Telecom needs to realise that its old model of squeezing the market for every last cent of profit is no longer a viable option for them or for any constructive future in the industry.
“Our members will be taking every opportunity to put pressure on Telecom and Transfield until a deal is reached and they can get decent rates and job security for doing work that is so vital to New Zealand’s economic future.”
Further protest action is planned in Hamilton tomorrow.
The EPMU represents 50,000 New Zealand workers across 11 industries including more than 6,000 in the telecommunications and electrical industry.
Photos from today’s protest can be found at: